Altar boys….and girls

H/T: Byzantine, Texas (here). Not sure, but is this even new? I thought I saw ordained girl Readers in the Greek church before. Or maybe I’m mistaken?

Greeks to Tonsure Girls as Readers

Recently, Monomakhos has learned that several young girls are going to be tonsured as Readers in the GOA later today in Scottsdale, Arizona. Needless to say, this has caused consternation among some of the more traditional members of that jurisdiction.

These kind of occurrences invariably raise the hackles in the more traditionalist jurisdictions (e.g. ROCOR, MP, the Serbs, even the OCA). In truth, such shenanigans make it next-to-impossible to ever envision a united, pan-Orthodox, autocephalous jurisdiction in North America. If nothing else, the fears of the inevitable –female priesthood–can never be mollified no matter what sophistry the GOA brings forth to justify such make-it-up-as-we-go-along practices…..


7 thoughts on “Altar boys….and girls

  1. One of the points that that article makes which I find very interesting is:

    “…if we look at the early Church we also find political situations which oppressed Christianity even more than that of the tyrannical communist regimes of our own recent history. We find, in the early Church, Christians very willing to die for the faith, who stood by and encouraged their children to remain firm during their young martyrdom for Christ, who truly suffered as confessors before civil authorities; we see Christians who willingly sacrificed everything to follow Christ. Sadly, when many of those who like to cite the “early Church” raise their voice, they tend to be quite selective in which aspects of that “early Church” they would like to emulate. What we do not see in the early Church are people who are living very comfortably and making an “issue” as to what their place in the Church may be. The early Christians fell on their knees, thanking God to be in the Ark of Salvation; they were not clawing their way forward to direct it!….”

  2. Thank you , Father. I had read that a number of years ago when i first came across the word deaconess in the lives of the saints. I wiill take another look at it. About 2 years ago I was at the OCA church that we also attend and a visitor there had introduced herself as a deaconess. I was surprised because from what i had read it disappeared after the 4th century……. I am pretty sure she was from the OCA but not definite on that.

  3. Father,
    In reading about the saints over the years I have come across deaconesses in the early church and from my understanding they may have performed the same litigurical duties of a deacon and maybe more because they ministered to woman and may have been the ones to chrismate with oil. I believe they still exist in the russian church but have disappeared pretty much otherwise…
    Early saints who were deaconesses include:
    Blessed Theosebia the Deaconess sister of sts Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa, Blessed woman Olympias the deaconess of Constantinople, St Phoebe Deaconess of Cenchrea near Corinth who is mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:1-2, and St. publia the Confessor and Deaconess of Antioch. All of these woman lived before the 400’s.

    Please share any other information you may have or your thoughts….
    Hope all is well with your crew!

  4. There was sufficient pressure applied that they cancelled the event. To my mind, I wonder what the purpose of a pseudo-tonsure pseudo-blessing Reader service is? If they want to read, they read. If you want to “innovate”… well that is not one of Orthodoxy’s favorite words.

  5. I have been told that the prayer used to ordain Readers in the Greek Archdiocese makes no mention that “the first degree in the Priesthood is that of Reader” and that by living “a chaste, holy and upright life thou shalt gain the favor of the God of loving-kindness, and shalt render thyself worthy of a greater ministry…”. (Hapgood, p. 309). If so, this may be much ado about nothing. The text of the prayer used in the GOA should be made available.

    The issue of tonsuring girls as Readers is an issue only because the prayer defines the Order in the language above. Otherwise, it’s more of a blessing.

    Of course, it’s equally odd to just start making up prayers and adding actions from other rites (tonsure) without (seemingly) a whole lot of reflection given to how the entire Church might see such an act. Thus, both the innovation and the parochialism are problems.

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